Developer Chronicles on Azure, Cloud, IoT, Modern Javascript and .NET

What’s Azure Container Service (ACS/AKS)

April 12, 2018 Application Virtualization, Azure, Azure Container Service, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services, Computing, Containers, Docker, Emerging Technologies, IaaS, Kubernates, Microsoft, OpenSource, Orchestrator, OS Virtualization, PaaS, Virtual Machines, Virtualization, Windows Azure Development No comments

I will start with history: Sometime around 2016, Microsoft launched an IaaS service called Azure Container Service a.k.an ACS serves as a bridge between Azure Ecosystem and existing container ecosystem being used widely by the developer community around the world.

kubernates_azureIt helps as a gateway for infrastructure engineers and developers to manage underlying infrastructure such as Virtual Machines, Storage, Network Load Balancing services individually than the application itself.  The application developer doesn’t have to worry about planet-scale of the application, instead, a container orchestrator can manage the scale up and scale down of your application environment based on peaks and downs of your application usage.

It offers an option to select from 3 major container orchestrators available today such as DC/OS, Swarm, Docker, and Kubernates.   ACS along with your choice of container orchestrators works efficiently with different container ecosystems to enable the promise of application virtualization.

To make it simpler, ACS is your Super Glue to gel your Azure infrastructure and your container orchestrator together. Means you will be able to make your fully managed container cluster in a matter of minutes with Azure.

ACS is for making your microservices dream come true, by providing individual services scale according to the demand and automatically reduce the scale, if usage is low. You don’t have to worry, ACS and your container orchestrator will take care of you.

If you are a beginner to container-based infrastructure for your applications, you don’t have to take the pain at all of setting up Kubernates on your own, instead, ACS will simplify your implementation with a couple of easier click thru’s and your container infrastructure is ready to be fully managed by you. As simple as that.

What is Azure Container Kubernates Service (AKS) then?

As I am writing today, Microsoft has a new fully managed PaaS service called as Azure Container Service (AKS) or Managed Kubernates, meaning that Kubernates would be your default fully managed container orchestrator, if you choose Azure Container Service. But you would be able to deploy other open-source container orchestrators if you prefer to choose to have your own unmanaged Kubernates, Docker or DC/OS and then add your specific management and monitoring tools.

This service is currently available in PUBLIC PREVIEW, you can get started from here

Means though it is a fully managed service, you still have the option to manage it your own using your preferred set of tools and orchestrators.

Charging Model

Whether you manage your AKS service with your own set of tools and orchestrator or you use Fully Managed Kubernates, you only need to pay for resources you consume. No need to worry about per-cluster charges like other providers.

Useful References:

WordPress Blog in Azure App Service In Minutes–Part 02 (Configuring WordPress)

March 24, 2018 App Service, Azure, Back-2-Bascis, Emerging Technologies, KnowledgeBase, Microsoft, OpenSource, Tips & Tricks, Web Development, Windows Azure Development No comments

In the last part of this series, we experienced how to create a new wordpress blog instance in Azure App Service. In this part we will learn, how to configure your wordpress instance for publishing.

Now that we have WordPress instance deployed in Azure App Service, lets expore the app service instance a bit.

Step 1: Go to “All Resources” and select “mywordpress-blog” app

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Step 2:  Copy URL and open in another browser window

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Step 3: WordPress Configuration will automatically kick-in.  Select your desired language, in my case it would be ‘English’ and click on Continue.

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Step 4: Specify your blog name, initial admin username, password, email etc.

Click on [Install WordPress]

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Step 5: Congragulations!, Your installation is successful and you will be greeted with Success message. Now it is your time to get started with your blog.

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You can simply login to <your_wordpress_website_url>/wp-admin, with the admin login and start creating your content.

If you are a beginner and need additional help in using wordpress, please visit – Official WordPress-Configuration  Help

WordPress Blog in Azure App Service In Minutes–Part 01

March 24, 2018 App Service, Azure, Azure Database for MySQL, Back-2-Bascis, CodeSnippets, JumpStarts, KnowledgeBase, Microsoft, OpenSource, Tips & Tricks, Windows, Windows Azure Development No comments

All my life I have been a tech saavy person would make my hands dirty trying out all odds available.

Here I am going to help you with setting up your own WordPress Blog in Azure App Service.

SPOILER ALERT: We will be using a B1 – Basic instance to save the cost.

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Step 1: Login to Azure Portal

Step 2: Click on New

Step 3: Search for “Wordpress” among resources  and Select WordPress

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Step 4: Click on ‘CREATE’

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Step 5: Enter App Service Instance Name

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Step 6: Now Select Database Provider. We need MySQL as the database and we have two options provided by Azure

1. Azure Database for MySQL ( a managed MySQL instance)  which has become publically available few days back.

2. MySQL In App (an instance hosted within App Service instance, basically your web app and mysql will be sharing the computing capabilities of the instance).

For the interest of the article, I will go with Option 2: MySQL InApp

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Step 7: Specify App Service Plan /Location

As metioned in the spoiler we will go with a B1 Basic tier in West Europe location.

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Step 8: Turn Application Insights ON and Specify location (This is optional, you do not want Application Insights performance logging for your blog, you can simply ignore)

Step 9: You are ready to go, click on [CREATE] to start the deployment.

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Step 10: Now you see the deployment in progress message in Azure Portal.

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Wait until this deployment is finished to setup WordPress initial configuration for use along with your custom domain.  We will continue with our setup in next part of this series.

General Availability of Azure Database Services for MYSQL and PostgreSQL

March 23, 2018 Azure, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services, Data Services, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft, Tech Newz, VisualStudio, VS2017 No comments

It has been a while I have written something on my blog. I thought of getting started again with a good news that Microsoft Azure team has announced the general availability of Azure Database Services for MySQL and PostgreSQL. In my earlier posts, I have provided some oversight into Preview Availability of these services as part of the Azure cloud. Now that it is generally available, customers should be able to utilize these services for their general purpose or enterprise level database requirements in Azure Cloud.

You may read about it more on Microsoft announcement blog Announcing general availability of Azure database services for MySQL and PostgreSQL  by Tobias Ternstrom Principal Group Program Manager, Azure Data

IoT is not all about Cloud

October 15, 2017 Cloud Computing, Connected, Connectivity, Emerging Technologies, Internet of Things, IoT, Machines No comments

Recent past, I had multiple discussions with many tech forums and many people have a misconception about IoT and Cloud. Some think whenever we do something like blinking an LED with Raspberry Pi or Arduino is IoT.

I just thought of sharing some of my viewpoints on these terminologies.

  • Internet of Things(IoT) – refers to the connection of devices (other than the usual examples such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, Home and Kitchen appliances, Industrial devices, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT.
  • Cloud Computing – often called simply “the cloud,” involves delivering data, applications, photos, videos, and more over the Internet to data centers.

We can break down cloud computing into six different categories:

  1. Software as a service (SaaS): Cloud-based applications run on computers off-site (or “in the cloud”). Other people or companies own and operate these devices, which connect to users’ computers, typically through a web browser.
  2. Platform as a service (PaaS): Here, the cloud houses everything necessary to build and deliver cloud-based applications. This removes the need to purchase and maintain hardware, software, hosting, and more.
  3. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): IaaS provides companies with servers, storage, networking, and data centers on a per-use basis.
  4. Public Cloud: Companies own and operate these spaces and provide quick access to users over a public network.Example: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure etc.
  5. Private Cloud: Similar to a public cloud, except only one entity (user, organization, company, etc.) has access. Means the access to the cloud is secured and isolated, only organizational entities have access to this type of cloud resources. A private cloud is owned by a single organization. Private clouds enable an organization to use cloud computing technology as a means of centralizing access to IT resources by different parts, locations, or departments of the organization. When a private cloud exists as a controlled environment within Onpremise data centers.
  6. Hybrid Cloud: Takes the foundation of a private cloud but provides public cloud access. This combination would be established through a secure high-speed VPN tunnel over MPLS or other dedicated lines or extended connectivity gateways provided by the respective cloud vendor. In this mode, your on-premise applications can connect to cloud infrastructure and vice versa. This provides you the flexibility to host your missing critical information in on-premise itself, but also provides you the flexibility to utilize the cloud power, without compromising your organization’s critical data.

Role of Cloud in IoT

Cloud is simply an enabler for IoT. It provides necessary services and infrastructure for things to be interconnected and operate.

Cloud provides all the essential services to increases efficiency in implementing your IoT solutions, accumulate and operate on IoT data. Internet of things requires Cloud to work, I would better define it as Cloud and IoT are inseparable, but IoT is not all about Cloud.

For example, millions of devices connected in an IoT ecosystem would create millions of bytes of data, and you would need sufficient infrastructure to store and operate on these data to create a meaningful result out of it.

Cloud Service providers started realizing the need of providing IoT specific services to customers to quickly enable to create Fast to market solutions. That’s where Cloud and IoT converges. Microsoft has packages all IoT related components into Azure IoT and hence Amazon AWS IoT, similarly the remaining providers such as SAP Hana, IBM Cloud etc. This helps customers from picking necessary components and build their IoT ecosystem in Cloud, or utilize the predefined(SaaS) solutions for quick enablement.

What is the role of Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Dragon board then?

These are single board computer or hardware boards(CPUs) or Microcontroller boards that have sufficient hardware capacity to run a small/complex IoT program on an operating system of your choice.

These boards are typically equipped with your basic storage and computing needs for establishing an IoT device or edge capability. You can write a program of your choice to blink an LED based on your conditions, as they are equipped with digital/analog I/O ports. You can choose from wide variety of operating systems such as Raspebian, Windows 10IoT etc to install on these devices or deploy microcontroller programs depending on the capacity.

This means they are edge devices which you can program for your IoT use case. When deployed to the field together, they would create an IoT network.

Conclusion:

Enough said, IoT is not all about the cloud, but are inseparable in a modern world and whatever you are doing with RaspeberryPi, Arduino Uno etc may not be an IoT unless there are a specific IoT use cases you are not trying to solve using these devices.

Useful References:

Getting Started with Azure Functions App

June 25, 2017 .NET, .NET Framework, App Service, Azure, C#.NET, Emerging Technologies, Functions App, JavaScript, Microsoft, Windows Azure Development, Windowz Azure No comments

In my previous article I gave you an overview of Azure Functions and discussed about the benefits of the Azure Functions. With this session I will cover you with necessary steps to create an initial basic functions app.

Getting Started:

Login to Azure Portal, you will see Function Apps section in the left menu. This is where all your Function Apps will be listed, once you login.

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Let us start by creating a new Function app. Type Functions

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Select Function App from Web + Mobile category, and Click on Create Button.

Fill In details:

  1. App Name,
  2. Select Subscription
  3. Select Resource Group (new if you want to create new resource group) or select existing
  4. Select Hosting Plan
  5. Specify Storage
  6. Click on Create

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You will see deployment in progress message.

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Once you explore further selecting the Function App instance you will be able view the URL and left side  menu you will see the options to configure:

  1. Functions
  2. Proxies (Preview Feature)
  3. Slots (Preview Feature)

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Getting Started – create first Function App

Now since we have new instance ready. Let us create our first Function.

We have to choose by :

1.)  Choose a scenario:

  1. Webhook + API
  2. Time
  3. Data Processing

2.)  Choose a language:

  1. JavaScript
  2. CSharp
  3. FSharp
  4. For PowerShell, Python and Batch processing, you create your own custom function

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For the demo sake I am creating a Timer Scenario and selected CSharp as the language.

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I created a simple trigger code  and Click on Save and Run

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Job has completed within speculated delay we put through on the Thread.Sleep:

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Code Sample:

 
using System;
using System.Threading;

public static void Run(TimerInfo myTimer, TraceWriter log)
{
    log.Info($"C# Timer trigger function executing at: {DateTime.Now}");

    RunTest(log);

    log.Info($"C# Timer trigger function completed at: {DateTime.Now}");
}


public static void RunTest(TraceWriter log)
{
    for(int i=0; i&lt; 100; i++)
    {
       log.Info($"C# Timer trigger function executing at thread: {i}"); 
       
        Thread.Sleep(1000);

        log.Info($"C# Timer trigger function completed at thread: {i}"); 
    }
}

Using the Functions –> Integrate section we can configure Input, Output parameters and Schedule Timers, to make it available as a WebAPI methods. You can call this functional logic from another application to invoke as a web API call by passing necessary inputs, to start another functional process.

One example for this scenario would be to invoke a Database record archival  call after completion of an order. This is will be applicable in case we choose the scenario WebHook + API during the creation of your functional logic.

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That’s all for now for this topic.  I will cover more details about WebHook + API in next series.

Please share your comments and rate this article to help me understand areas of improvement.

Additional Refs: